The Science of Existence (31) From Classical to Modern Physics

From Classical to Modern Physics

Classical physics accepted what the 5 senses facilely perceived: that observable space and time was all that there is. This philosophical stance is naïve realism: the belief that actuality is reality. Universal laws of Nature were built upon that precondition. As physics’ perspective of existence expanded, the scope of universal laws shrank.

The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them. ~ William Henry Bragg

Inquiry into the nature of radiation ushered in modern physics, which is only partly a post-Newtonian conception.

At the turn of the 20th century, Max Planck discovered that energy, while having wavelike properties, only manifests in quantized (particulate) form. Thus arose the Planck constant: the smallest possible increment of energy. Space and time also quantize into a minimal Planck length and Planck time respectively.

Einstein extended Planck’s discovery and found that space and time, which Newton had considered absolute, were instead relative.

The world looks classical because the complex interactions that an object has with its surroundings conspire to conceal quantum effects from our view. ~ Serbian-born British physicist Vlatko Vedral

The onset of modern physics came from poking holes in classical descriptions, finding them lacking when considering the cosmic or infinitesimal. The irony of modern physics has been to create new holes that bring the exploration of physics to its limits; a demonstration of how little can be empirically sussed about the nature of Nature, and how easily theory misleads.